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12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession

Twelve - Public DomainDid you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008?  When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets.  And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us.  In this article, I am going to share with you a bunch of charts and statistics that show that economic conditions are already substantially worse than they were during the last financial crisis in a whole bunch of different ways.  Unfortunately, in our 48 hour news cycle world, a slow and steady decline does not produce many “sexy headlines”.  Those of us that are news junkies (myself included) are always looking for things that will shock us.  But if you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking.  The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession…

#1 Back in 2008, 18 percent of all Americans kids were living in poverty.  This week, we learned that number has now risen to 22 percent

There are nearly three million more children living in poverty today than during the recession, shocking new figures have revealed.

Nearly a quarter of youngsters in the US (22 percent) or around 16.1 million individuals, were classed as living below the poverty line in 2013.

This has soared from just 18 percent in 2008 – during the height of the economic crisis, the Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.

#2 In early 2008, the homeownership rate in the U.S. was hovering around 68 percent.  Today, it has plunged below 64 percent.  Incredibly, it has not been this low in more than 20 years.  Just look at this chart – the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout Obama’s “economic recovery”…

Homeownership Rate 2015

#3 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, government dependence has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before.  In 2008, the federal government was spending about 37 billion dollars a year on the federal food stamp program.  Today, that number is above 74 billion dollars.  If the economy truly is “recovering”, why is government dependence so much higher than it was during the last recession?

#4 On the chart below, you can see that the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars when we entered the last recession.  Since that time, the debt of the federal government has doubled.  We are on the exact same path that Greece has gone down, and what you are looking at below is a recipe for national economic suicide…

Presentation National Debt

#5 During Obama’s “recovery”, real median household income has actually gone down quite a bit.  Just prior to the last recession, it was above $54,000 per year, but now it has dropped to about $52,000 per year…

Median Household Income

#6 Even though our incomes are stagnating, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily.  This is especially true of basic things that we all purchase such as food.  As I wrote about earlier this year, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled since the last recession.

#7 In a healthy economy, lots of new businesses are opening and not that many are being forced to shut down.  But for each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#8 Barack Obama is constantly telling us about how unemployment is “going down”, but the truth is that the  percentage of working age Americans that are either working or considered to be looking for work has steadily declined since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Labor Force Participation Rate

#9 Some have suggested that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to large numbers of older people retiring.  But the reality of the matter is that we have seen a spike in the inactivity rate for Americans in their prime working years.  As you can see below, the percentage of males between the ages of 25 and 54 that aren’t working and that aren’t looking for work has surged to record highs since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Inactivity Rate

#10 A big reason why we don’t have enough jobs for everyone is the fact that millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped overseas.  At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars.  Last year, it was more than 343 billion dollars.

#11 Thanks to all of these factors, the middle class in America is dying.  In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”.  But by 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

When you take a look at our young people, the numbers become even more pronounced.  In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”.  But in 2014, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#12 This is something that I have covered before, but it bears repeating.  The velocity of money is a very important indicator of the health of an economy.  When an economy is functioning smoothly, people generally feel quite good about things and money flows freely through the system.  I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc.  But when an economy is in trouble, the velocity of money tends to go down.  As you can see on the chart below, a drop in the velocity of money has been associated with every single recession since 1960.  So why has the velocity of money continued to plummet since the end of the last recession?…

Velocity Of Money M2

If you are waiting for an “economic collapse” to happen, you can stop waiting.

One is unfolding right now before our very eyes.

But what most people really mean when they ask about these things is that they are wondering when the next great financial crisis will happen.  And as I discussed yesterday, things are lining up in textbook fashion for one to happen in our very near future.

Once the next great financial crisis does strike, all of the numbers that I just discussed above are going to get a whole lot worse.

So as bad as things are now, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the pain.

A Recession Within A Recession

Recession - Public DomainOn Friday, the federal government announced that the U.S. economy contracted at a 0.7 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015.  This unexpected shrinking of the economy is being primarily blamed on “harsh” weather during the first three months of this year and on the strengthening of the U.S. dollar.  Most economists are confident that U.S. GDP will rebound back into positive territory when the numbers for the second quarter come out, but if that does not happen we will officially meet the government’s criteria for being in another “recession”.  To make sure that the numbers for Q2 will look “acceptable”, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is about to change the way that it calculates GDP again.  They are just going to keep “seasonally adjusting” the numbers until they get what they want.  At this point, the government numbers are so full of “assumptions” and “estimates” that they don’t really bear much resemblance to reality anyway.  In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com has calculated that if the government was actually using honest numbers that they would show that we have continually been in a recession since 2005.  That is why I am referring to this as a “recession within a recession”.  Most people can look around and see that economic conditions for most Americans are not good, and now they are about to get even worse.

For quite a while I have been warning that another economic downturn was coming.  Well, now we have official confirmation from the Obama administration that it is happening.  The following is an excerpt from the statement that the Bureau of Economic Analysis released on Friday

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United
States, adjusted for price changes — decreased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of
2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth
quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for
the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP increased 0.2 percent.
With the second estimate for the first quarter, imports increased more and private inventory investment
increased less than previously estimated (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).

The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from
exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment.

And actually, Q1 GDP would have been far worse if not for a very large inventory buildup.  Without that inventory buildup, Q1 GDP would have been in the neighborhood of negative three percent according to Zero Hedge.  Despite the happy face that most analysts are putting on these numbers, the truth is that they reveal some deeply troubling trends.

One of the things that is driving this current downturn is the fact that our trade balance continues to get even worse.  In other words, the gap between how much we buy from the rest of the world and how much we sell to the rest of the world is growing.

During the first quarter, imports surged by 5.6 percent.  That means that we are buying more from the rest of the planet than we did before.

Unfortunately, during the first quarter of this year exports dropped by a staggering 7.6 percent.  That means that the amount of stuff that we are selling to the rest of the planet is falling precipitously.

When our trade deficit expands, we lose jobs, businesses and economic infrastructure at an even faster pace.  This is why I write about trade issues so much.  Our economy is being absolutely eviscerated, and the Obama administration is pushing another giant trade deal which will greatly accelerate this process.

We are committing national economic suicide by running colossal trade deficits year after year.  But instead of addressing our problems, our “leaders” just continue to conduct business as usual.

And to make themselves look good, they just keep manipulating the numbers until they seem “reasonable”.  As I mentioned above, the negative number for Q1 is causing a lot of consternation in Washington, so now the Bureau of Economic Analysis is going to modify the way that GDP is calculated once again.  The following comes from Bloomberg

The way some parts of U.S. gross domestic product are calculated are about to change in the wake of the debate over persistently depressed first-quarter growth.

In a blog post published Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis listed a series of alterations it will make in seasonally adjusting data used to calculate economic growth. The changes will be implemented with the release of the initial second-quarter GDP estimate on July 30, the BEA said.

Although the agency adjusts its figures for seasonal variations, growth in any given first quarter still tends to be weaker than in the remaining three, economists have found, a sign there may be some bias in the data. It’s a phenomenon economists call “residual seasonality.”

Why can’t they just give us honest numbers?

Meanwhile, we also learned on Friday that corporate profits declined again during the first quarter of 2015.  This was the second quarter in a row that we have seen this happen.  The following comes from CNS News

The BEA report also released data on corporate profits, which showed a decrease from the previous quarter. ‘Profits from current production decreased $125.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of $30.4 billion in the fourth,’ BEA said.

Can you guess the last time that corporate profits declined for two quarters in a row?

It was in 2008.

So many of the exact same red flags that popped up seven years ago are popping up once again.

I know that I must sound like a broken record, but right now there are more signals that another major economic downturn is approaching than there has been at any other time since I started The Economic Collapse Blog in 2009.

Hopefully this summer will be relatively quiet, but I fully expect for events to start accelerating significantly during the second half of this year.

So if you have things that you need to get done before the next crisis arrives, you better hurry up, because time is quickly running out.

Major U.S. Retailers Are Closing More Than 6,000 Stores

Closed - Public DomainIf the U.S. economy really is improving, then why are big U.S. retailers permanently shutting down thousands of stores?  The “retail apocalypse” that I have written about so frequently appears to be accelerating.  As you will see below, major U.S. retailers have announced that they are closing more than 6,000 locations, but economic conditions in this country are still fairly stable.  So if this is happening already, what are things going to look like once the next recession strikes?  For a long time, I have been pointing to 2015 as a major “turning point” for the U.S. economy, and I still feel that way.  And since I started The Economic Collapse Blog at the end of 2009, I have never seen as many indications that we are headed into another major economic downturn as I do right now.  If retailers are closing this many stores already, what are our malls and shopping centers going to look like a few years from now?

The list below comes from information compiled by About.com, but I have only included major retailers that have announced plans to close at least 10 stores.  Most of these closures will take place this year, but in some instances the closures are scheduled to be phased in over a number of years.  As you can see, the number of stores that are being permanently shut down is absolutely staggering…

180 Abercrombie & Fitch (by 2015)

75 Aeropostale (through January 2015)

150 American Eagle Outfitters (through 2017)

223 Barnes & Noble (through 2023)

265 Body Central / Body Shop

66 Bottom Dollar Food

25 Build-A-Bear (through 2015)

32 C. Wonder

21 Cache

120 Chico’s (through 2017)

200 Children’s Place (through 2017)

17 Christopher & Banks

70 Coach (fiscal 2015)

70 Coco’s /Carrows

300 Deb Shops

92 Delia’s

340 Dollar Tree/Family Dollar

39 Einstein Bros. Bagels

50 Express (through 2015)

31 Frederick’s of Hollywood

50 Fresh & Easy Grocey Stores

14 Friendly’s

65 Future Shop (Best Buy Canada)

54 Golf Galaxy (by 2016)

50 Guess (through 2015)

26 Gymboree

40 JCPenney

127 Jones New York Outlet

10 Just Baked

28 Kate Spade Saturday & Jack Spade

14 Macy’s

400 Office Depot/Office Max (by 2016)

63 Pep Boys (“in the coming years”)

100 Pier One (by 2017)

20 Pick ’n Save (by 2017)

1,784 Radio Shack

13 Ruby Tuesday

77 Sears

10 SpartanNash Grocery Stores

55 Staples (2015)

133 Target, Canada (bankruptcy)

31 Tiger Direct

200 Walgreens (by 2017)

10 West Marine

338 Wet Seal

80 Wolverine World Wide (2015 – Stride Rite & Keds)

So why is this happening?

Without a doubt, Internet retailing is taking a huge toll on brick and mortar stores, and this is a trend that is not going to end any time soon.

But as Thad Beversdorf has pointed out, we have also seen a stunning decline in true discretionary consumer spending over the past six months…

What we find is that over the past 6 months we had a tremendous drop in true discretionary consumer spending. Within the overall downtrend we do see a bit of a rally in February but quite ominously that rally failed and the bottom absolutely fell out. Again the importance is it confirms the fundamental theory that consumer spending is showing the initial signs of a severe pull back. A worrying signal to be certain as we would expect this pull back to begin impacting other areas of consumer spending. The reason is that American consumers typically do not voluntarily pull back like that on spending but do so because they have run out of credit. And if credit is running thin it will surely be felt in all spending.

The truth is that middle class U.S. consumers are tapped out.  Most families are just scraping by financially from month to month.  For most Americans, there simply is not a whole lot of extra money left over to go shopping with these days.

In fact, at this point approximately one out of every four Americans spend at least half of their incomes just on rent

More than one in four Americans are spending at least half of their family income on rent – leaving little money left to purchase groceries, buy clothing or put gas in the car, new figures have revealed.

A staggering 11.25 million households consume 50 percent or more of their income on housing and utilities, according to an analysis of Census data by nonprofit firm, Enterprise Community Partners.

And 1.8 million of these households spend at least 70 percent of their paychecks on rent.

The surging cost of rental housing has affected a rising number of families since the Great Recession hit in 2007. Officials define housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income as burdensome.

For decades, the U.S. economy was powered by a free spending middle class that had plenty of discretionary income to throw around.  But now that the middle class is being systematically destroyed, that paradigm is changing.  Americans families simply do not have the same resources that they once did, and that spells big trouble for retailers.

As you read this article, the United States still has more retail space per person than any other nation on the planet.  But as stores close by the thousands, “space available” signs are going to be popping up everywhere.  This is especially going to be true in poor and lower middle class neighborhoods.  Especially after what we just witnessed in Baltimore, many retailers are not going to hesitate to shut down underperforming locations in impoverished areas.

And remember, the next major economic crisis has not even arrived yet.  Once it does, the business environment in this country is going to change dramatically, and a few years from now America is going to look far different than it does right now.

 

Civil Unrest Has Begun In Baltimore And This Is Only Just The Start Of Something MUCH Bigger

Baltimore Riots - YouTube ScreenshotOn Saturday night, the city of Baltimore resembled a warzone as protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned wildly violent.  One eyewitness reported watching the streets around him and his friend “turn into madness” as they left a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.  Car windows were smashed, stores were robbed, chairs were thrown and large numbers of random bystanders were attacked.  One prominent Democrat claims that those committing the violence were “mainly from out of town“, but how would he know that?  Today, there are approximately 2.7 million people living in the Baltimore metropolitan area.  It is an area that has been known for poverty, crime and drugs for many years, and as racial tensions continue to increase in this country it is a powder keg that could erupt at literally any time.  We got a preview of what can happen on Saturday night.  If this is how people will act while economic conditions are still relatively stable in this country, what in the world is going to happen when things really start falling apart?

On Saturday, April 11th, I delivered a presentation down in Dallas, Texas in which I warned about the rioting and civil unrest that are soon coming to this nation.  On slide number 145 of the presentation, I specifically named the city of Baltimore as one of the cities where this would happen.  But I had no idea that the rioting in Baltimore would begin so quickly.  And the violence that we saw on Saturday night was at a level that was quite shocking.  The following is how the Daily Mail described some of the chaos that ensued…

Local news captured live footage of a man throwing a flaming trash can at the police line.

A group of roughly 100 protesters broke out a window of a department store with a chair they got at a restaurant across the street at The Gallery, a downtown shopping mall.

The same group broke the windows of restaurants including a Subway sandwich shop near Camden Yards, tossing chairs and tables through the glass.

Protesters also engaged with a group of Orioles fans at Slider’s Bar and Grille and began fighting with patrons.

This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America.

But it is happening.  Ferguson set the precedent, and now this is going to spread all over the country.

You can see some excellent photographs of the chaos that happened in Baltimore right here, and in the video posted below several young thugs smash out the front window of a police cruiser as dozens of onlookers cheer them on…

I also want to share with you another video, but I need to warn you about it first.  This YouTube video strings together a bunch of clips of some of the worst of the violence, but it also contains some very graphic language.  So please don’t let any young children watch this.  I felt that it was important to share this because we need to really understand what is happening to our cities.  America is changing, and not for the better.  This is what social decay looks like…

Are you starting to get the picture?

Things were so bad outside of the stadium where the Baltimore Orioles play that some of the Orioles actually thought about spending the night inside the clubhouse.

One of the things that is being ignored by many in the mainstream media is that fact that one of the key organizers of the Baltimore protests is a former national chairman of the New Black Panther Party named Malik Shabazz.  These days, he is the president of an organization known as “Black Lawyers for Justice”, but he is definitely still up to his old tricks.  The following is an excerpt from an article about the Baltimore riots in the New York Times

There, Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group that called for the demonstration and advertised it on social media, told the crowd that he would release them in an hour, adding: “Shut it down if you want to! Shut it down!

Mr. Shabazz said in a later interview that his rhetoric was intended only to encourage civil disobedience — not violence — but added that he was “not surprised” by the scattered angry outbursts because people here “haven’t received justice.”

If you are marching for “justice”, you don’t throw objects at random bystanders, loot stores or attack vehicles that are just driving through the area.  But all of those things happened on Saturday night.  The following is how an eyewitness described one of the most harrowing attacks…

The crowd of protesters then stopped a blue station wagon carrying a white family as they tried to drive past Pickles, Bullpen and Sliders along a narrow one-way stretch between the bars and the main road. As a horde of them smashed their open and closed fists on the hood of the car—while impeding them by standing in front of them—the driver backed up on the one way pass in a desperate attempt to get out of dodge. Then, stopped on the other side with nowhere to go, protesters ripped open the passenger door of the car and began reaching around inside the vehicle. As hundreds of people looked on, including several police officers who didn’t engage the violent protesters, the white woman in the front seat—middle-aged and a little heavyset with dark hair—was visibly terrified. The group of black men who ripped open the car door suddenly realized they were separated from the larger group of protesters and abandoned their quest to seemingly either carjack the station wagon or rob the people inside in front of hundreds, driving out of the one-way street back onto the main road and presumably out of dodge.

Of course all of this did not just erupt out of a vacuum.  Racial tensions on all sides have been stirred up by the mainstream media, by our politicians, and by other prominent national leaders for years.  At this point, even pastors are inflaming the tensions

Activist Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church, told his congregation Sunday that “somebody is going to have to pay” for Gray’s death, the Associated Press reported.

If “you’re black in America, your life is always under threat,” Bryant said.

Why can’t we all just learn to love one another, forgive one another, and peacefully come up with some solutions that are going to work for all of us?

Sadly, all of this hate and anger is just another sign of the social decay that is eating away at the foundations of our society like a cancer.

And if people are willing to act like this when our economy is still relatively stable and things are still relatively good in this nation, what are they going to do when they don’t have any money in their pockets and they don’t know where their next meal is going to come from?

What we witnessed in Baltimore on Saturday night is just the beginning.

Much worse is coming, and eventually we are going to see tremendous civil unrest and rioting all over this nation.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…

Why I Wouldn’t Want To Be A Police Officer In America Today

Police - Public DomainCan you imagine going to work each day knowing that there are lots of people out there that would love to see you dead?  Despite what a lot of Americans may think, it takes real courage to be a police officer in this country today.  Every time you put on that uniform and walk out the front door, it might be the very last time that you ever see your spouse and family.  Yes, there is a whole lot of needless police brutality in the United States in 2015, and I am going to address that later in this article.  But most police officers are just regular people that are trying to do their jobs and serve their communities.  And on Wednesday, we got a reminder of just how dangerous those jobs can be.  At around midnight on Wednesday, two Ferguson police officers were ambushed.  A 32-year-old officer named Webster Groves was shot just beneath his right eye, and another 41-year-old officer was hit in the shoulder.  Sadly, this is probably only just the beginning.  Racial tensions continue to escalate, and we are on the verge of a great financial crisis which will cause economic conditions in our cities to deteriorate rapidly.  By the end of this decade, I fully expect civil unrest, rioting, looting and mindless violence to become commonplace in large cities all across America.  In such an environment, it will be extremely dangerous to be a police officer.

The good news for the two police officers that got shot in Ferguson is that it looks like they are going to be okay.

But the same cannot be said for many other police officers that have been ambushed over the past year.

According to CNN, the number of police officers that were shot to death increased by more than 50 percent in 2014…

The number of law enforcement officers shot to death in the line of duty is up by more than 50% this year, and the leading method of those shootings was ambush-style attack.

That’s according to the nonprofit Washington-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which released its findings Tuesday.

And like I said, this is probably only just the beginning.

Sadly, a whole lot more police are going to die before this is all over.

You can try to blame this latest incident in Ferguson on a “deranged individual” if you want, but I think that the reactions that we saw on social media to these police shootings say a whole lot about where we are as a country.

In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, a lot of people were actually celebrating.  The following is a sampling of comments  from Twitter

-#ChiefJackson steps down and two pigs get shot? Best day #Ferguson has had in years

-im glad 2 pigs wounded in #Ferguson lol

-#Ferguson kill the pigs

-serves those two pigs right, i hope organized public militancy continues #ferguson

-#Ferguson pigs shouldnt grab ppl; thugs deserved it. Wish it was #DarrenWilson. Sound familiar? #MichaelBrown #VonderittMyers #AntonioMartin

-Racist cops shot not gonna cry 4 pigs #Ferguson

-I heard two pigs in #Ferguson got shot? We’re they left on the ground bleeding out and dead like Mike Brown?

-hopefully they’ll be off the street for a long time. two less pigs out harassing & kidnapping people. #Ferguson

Could you imagine trying to be a police officer in Ferguson in this kind of environment?

And it isn’t as if we didn’t see this coming.  Just consider an excerpt from an article that I authored a while back entitled “It’s WAR On The Streets Of America“…

The mainstream media and many national leaders on the left end of the spectrum have been stirring up strife and division for months on end.  So now a toxic environment has been created which is inevitably going to lead to even more violence.  At some recent “protest marches”, we have heard demonstrators enthusiastically chant extremely threatening slogans such as this: “What do we want? Dead cops!”  And when news broke that Ismaaiyl Brinsley had brutally murdered two NYPD police officers, lots of very twisted people on Twitter were actually celebrating.

The sick thing is that there are a lot of people out there that actually want to turn this into a full-blown war.  Some want a race war, some want a “war on cops”, and others just seem to want a general excuse for crime, looting and mayhem.

Unfortunately, if I am right, this is just a small preview of what we can expect in the years ahead.  Just like we have witnessed in Ferguson, I anticipate that we will eventually see a number of our larger cities burn.

And it never had to be this way.

Why can’t we all just love, respect and honor one another?

Yes, police brutality in the United States is wildly out of control.  In many areas of the nation, police officers are actually trained to bark orders, act like thugs and physically abuse people at the drop of a hat.  Our entire culture of policing needs to change.

I think that John W. Whitehead put it very aptly in one of his recent commentaries

For those of us who have managed to survive 2014 with our lives intact and our freedoms hanging by a thread, it has been a year of crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.

We’ve been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.

As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’ve had our freedoms turned inside out, our democratic structure flipped upside down, and our house of cards left in a shambles.

We’ve had our children burned by flashbang grenades, our dogs shot, and our old folks hospitalized after accidental” encounters with marauding SWAT teams. We’ve been told that as citizens we have no rights within 100 miles of our own border, now considered “Constitution-free zones.” We’ve had our faces filed in government databases, our biometrics crosschecked against criminal databanks, and our consumerist tendencies catalogued for future marketing overtures.

Now a large segment of our population either detests the police or is extremely fearful of ever dealing with them.

Is that a recipe for a healthy society?

Police brutality has become a permanent part of our culture, and that has got to change.  If it doesn’t, protests against the police are going to get worse and worse.

But what most protesters don’t seem to understand is that we actually need the police.

Without the police, our society would descend into utter chaos very rapidly.  Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, there are approximately 1.4 million gang members roaming our cities now.  And the moral decay that we see all around us is getting worse with each passing year.  We are a nation that is absolutely teeming with addicts, sickos, perverts and psychopaths.  I don’t even want to imagine what our society would look like without police.

Like I said, most police officers are just average people that are trying to do their jobs and serve their communities.

Unfortunately for them, their jobs are becoming a lot more difficult and a lot more dangerous.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

This Housing Chart Destroys The Arguments Of The Economic Optimists

Chart - Public DomainDid you know that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low?  Did you know that it has been falling consistently for an entire decade?  For the past couple of years, the economic optimists have been telling us that the economy has been getting better.  Well, if the economy really has been getting better, why does the homeownership rate keep going down?  Yes, the ultra-wealthy have received a temporary financial windfall thanks to the reckless money printing the Federal Reserve has been doing, but for most Americans economic conditions have not been improving.  This is clearly demonstrated by the housing chart that I am about to share with you.  If the economy really was healthy, more people would be getting good jobs and thus would be able to buy homes.  But instead, the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout the entire “Obama recovery”.  I think that this chart speaks for itself…

Homeownership Rate 2015

Of course this homeownership collapse began well before Barack Obama entered the White House.  Our economic problems are the result of decades of incredibly bad decisions.  But anyone that believes that things have “turned around” for the middle class under Barack Obama is just being delusional.

If the U.S. economy truly was in “good shape”, the percentage of Americans that own homes would not be at a 20 year low

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in more than two decades in the fourth quarter as many would-be buyers stayed on the sidelines, giving the rental market a boost.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 64 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 64.4 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report. The rate was at the lowest since the second quarter of 1994, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Rising prices and a tight supply of lower-end listings have put homes out of reach for some entry-level buyers, who also face strict mortgage standards. The share of U.S. homebuyers making their first purchase dropped in 2014 to the lowest level in almost three decades, the National Association of Realtors reported last week.

And it appears that this trend is actually accelerating.  During 2014, the rate of homeownership plummeted by a total of 1.2 percentage points for the year.  That was the largest one year decline that has ever been measured.

So why is this happening?

Well, in order to buy a home you have got to have a good job, and good jobs are in very short supply these days.

Over the past decade, the quality of the jobs in our economy has steadily declined as good jobs have been replaced by low paying jobs.  In addition, government policies are absolutely murdering small business.  At this point, small business ownership in the U.S. is hovering near record lows.

This has resulted in millions of people falling out of the middle class, and it has contributed to the growing divide between the wealthy and the rest of the country.

If our economy was working the way that it should, the middle class would be thriving.

But instead, it is being systematically destroyed.  If you doubt this, I have some statistics that I would like to share with you.  The following facts come from my previous article entitled “The Death Of The American Dream In 22 Numbers“…

#1 The Obama administration tells us that 8.69 million Americans are “officially unemployed” and that 92.90 million Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”.  That means that more than 101 million U.S. adults do not have a job right now.

#2 One recent survey discovered that 55 percent of Americans believe that the American Dream either never existed or that it no longer exists.

#3 Considering the fact that Obama is in the White House, it is somewhat surprising that 55 percent of all Republicans still believe in the American Dream, but only 33 percent of all Democrats do.

#4 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.

#5 After adjusting for inflation, “the median wealth figure for middle-income families” fell from $78,000 in 1983 to $63,800 in 2013.

#6 At this point, 59 percent of Americans believe that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve”.

You can read the rest of that article right here.

The group that has been hit the hardest by all of this has been young adults.

Back in 2005, the homeownership rate for households headed up by someone under the age of 35 was approximately 43 percent.

Today, it has declined to about 35 percent.

From a very early age, we push our young people to go to college, and today more of them are getting secondary education than ever before.

But when they leave school, the “good jobs” that we promised them are often not there, and most of them end up entering the “real world” already loaded down with massive amounts of debt.

According to the Pew Research Center, close to four out of every ten households that are led by someone under the age of 40 are currently paying off student loan debt.

It is hard to believe, but total student loan debt in this country is now actually higher than total credit card debt.  At this point, student loan debt has reached a grand total of 1.2 trillion dollars, and that number has grown by an astounding 84 percent just since 2008.

If you are already burdened with tens of thousands (or in some cases hundreds of thousands) of dollars of debt when you get out of school and you can’t find a decent job, there is no way that you are going to be able to afford to buy a house.

So we have millions upon millions of young people that should be buying homes and starting families that are living with their parents instead.

Back in 1968, well over 50 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 31-year-old age bracket were already married and living on their own.

But today, that number is actually below 25 percent.  Instead, approximately 31 percent of all U.S. adults in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket are currently living with their parents.

Something has fundamentally gone wrong.

Our economy is broken, and anyone that cannot see this is just being foolish.

So what is the solution?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

It’s WAR On The Streets Of America

It's War On The Streets of AmericaMake no mistake – there is now a state of open warfare on the streets of America.  Earlier this year it was being reported that the number of police officers killed on the job was up 40 percent in 2014, and that was before all of the civil unrest caused by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  At this point, attacks on police officers are becoming a frequent occurrence all over the country, but no incident has stunned the nation as much as the “execution-style” murder of two NYPD officers on Saturday by a radical Islamic gunman identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley.  Just prior to the attack, Brinsley posted a message on Instagram in which he declared that he was “putting wings on pigs today”.  Many would like to dismiss this as an “isolated incident” and pretend that everything is just fine in America, but that is not the truth.  The reality of the matter is that anti-police sentiment in this country is at an all-time high, and the level of anger and frustration in our increasingly radicalized urban communities has reached a boiling point.  As economic conditions continue to deteriorate and police tactics become even more brutal in the years ahead, the kind of rioting, looting and senseless violence that we witnessed in Ferguson is going to become commonplace in major cities all over the United States.

The mainstream media and many national leaders on the left end of the spectrum have been stirring up strife and division for months on end.  So now a toxic environment has been created which is inevitably going to lead to even more violence.  At some recent “protest marches”, we have heard demonstrators enthusiastically chant extremely threatening slogans such as this: “What do we want? Dead cops!”  And when news broke that Ismaaiyl Brinsley had brutally murdered two NYPD police officers, lots of very twisted people on Twitter were actually celebrating.

We are moving into a period of time when it is going to be extraordinarily difficult to be a police officer in America.  I couldn’t even imagine going to work every day knowing that you could become the next target at any time.

Yes, there have been lots of abuses.  In fact, I have written dozens of articles about the emerging Big Brother police state in America.  In many areas of the country today, our police officers are actually being trained to be physically brutal, to bark orders at ordinary citizens and to treat everyone around them like dirt.  This culture of brutality and oppression filters down from the very top, and so ultimately the root of the problem is at the federal level.

But most police officers that are serving our local communities are just average people trying to do their jobs.  Without the police, crime would be wildly out of control.  So I am very thankful for the police in my local area.  I sleep better at night knowing that they are there.

And the reality of the matter is that we have made their jobs so much tougher.  Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, there are now approximately 1.4 million members of criminal gangs living in our cities.  And the Obama administration is allowing the UN to import thousands of Muslim radicals to communities all over the nation.  The police have to deal with well-armed threats that they simply did not have to face 40 or 50 years ago.  Our society is becoming increasingly unstable, and the police have to contend with the bleeding edge of that instability day after day.

So Ismaaiyl Brinsley did not appear out of a vacuum.  Even though the mainstream media is playing this angle down, the truth is that Ismaaiyl Brinsley was probably a member of an extremely violent criminal gang, and he was most definitely a radical Muslim.

According to his Facebook page, Brinsley spoke Arabic, and he also posted extreme passages from the Koran.  The following is one example…

ismaaiyl-brinsley-facebook

And as I mentioned above, his most famous message on social media was actually shared on Instagram…

ismaaiyl-brinsley-instagram-post

But Brinsley was not just a Muslim radical.  According to Aaron Klein of WND, there is also evidence that he was a member of a particularly violent gang known as the Black Guerilla Family…

The gang to which NYPD cop killer Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley may have belonged, the Black Guerilla Family, is allied with U.S. leftist groups and worked as an ideological partner with Bill Ayers’ Weather Underground terrorist organization.

Apparently, this gang dominated the prison where Brinsley once spent time…

The New York Daily News reported investigators went to Baltimore to probe Brinsley’s ties to the Black Guerrilla Family, which dominates the Maryland prison where Brinsley spent time. The BGF is an African-American Marxist revolutionary organization that seeks the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Numerous Baltimore media outlets confirmed law-enforcement officials are probing the BGF link.

And is it just a coincidence that the FBI issued a memo on Friday warning that the BGF was targeting “white cops”?

On Friday, the Baltimore FBI office issued a memo that the Black Guerrilla Family gang was targeting “white cops” in Maryland, an agency spokeswoman confirmed. The memo, circulating among officers, said a contact who had given reliable information in the past said members of the gang — connected to the high-profile corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center — were planning to target white officers to “send a message.”

There are a lot more radicals out there just like Brinsley.

And thanks to the toxic environment that now exists in this country, it is inevitable that there will be a lot more violence.

As this war escalates, we could eventually see pandemonium in major cities from coast to coast.

If you are not convinced that this is a war, perhaps you should heed the words of the NYPD’s union.  The following is an excerpt from an alert that was just released

Starting IMMEDIATELY: At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be.

IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest.

These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when police officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis.

The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.

Sadly, I believe that they are right.

In fact, if it wasn’t for an empty gun, a third NYPD police officer would have lost his life this past weekend…

A third cop narrowly escaped with his life Saturday night when a suspect pointed a gun directly at the officer’s head and pulled the trigger in The Bronx — not realizing it was empty.

Cops went to East 140th Street in Mott Haven at 9 p.m. on reports of a man shooting out windows with a .357 caliber revolver.

They spotted the suspect, identified as Raymond Leonardo, 18, and ordered him to drop the gun. Instead, he took point blank aim at one of the officers, officials said.

When the gun didn’t work, he put it in his pocket and ran. Cops tackled him a few blocks away.

Something has fundamentally shifted in this country.

I fear that this is only just the beginning of the war on the streets of America.

Hopefully I am wrong.

But I don’t believe that I am.

So what do you think?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

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